(Wall Street Journal) — Guinness is rolling out a soccer-themed game show across Africa, as it looks to lift sales in the continent’s crucial markets. The Guinness Football Challenge, a TV game show that has launched in Kenya and is arriving soon in Ghana and Cameroon, is part of a broader effort to channel the continent’s obsession with soccer into a greater love for the famous stout. The project comes as Diageo PLC, Guinness’s parent company, looks to move away from traditional advertising and use more commissioned content, digital initiatives and live events to plug its alcoholic-beverage brands. Guinness has identified soccer as the key “passion point” for its African target audience of men age 24 to 35.
Left by the wayside is Guinness’s longtime frontman, Michael Power, a James Bond-like character who served as the face of the Guinness brand in Africa for many years. The Michael Power character, devised by Publicis Groupe SA’s Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, long represented the stout in commercials and battled corrupt officials in his own African action flick. He was retired in 2007. Michael Power “did amazing things for the brand growth in Africa, but it was a traditional marketing model,” said Chris Goddard, head of football for Guinness Africa. “We wanted to move to a model that is more about participation.” Diageo also wanted to continue the Guinness brand message for Africa, which is “reach for greatness.”